Ferrer Gets Aggressive At A Ferrer Fundraiser
Mixing It For Ferrer
Ferrer ripped it apart today. I have been to a few of his events, and he has been a little on the diffident side. But today I saw a whole different incarnation. Perhaps he has always been that way. I only now saw him. This was the first time I have seen him at a podium. Or maybe he is switching gears. Because even Howard Dean, who was sharing the stage, looked a little taken aback, in a positive way. Or maybe because Dean was the one who introduced him, he got some Dean effect. We all know the doctor likes to get straight to the point.
But Ferrer really got it going. What a speech! Since he does not have the Bloomberg money, he needs to compensate with choice words. Assertiveness, aggresiveness are good qualities to have when you are trying to represent the underdogs, "the little guys," like some people put it, but a phrase I dislike. To me the so-called "little guys" are like a potential rich harvest of votes. It is a cornfield, a paddyfield.
I mean, this guy Bloomberg. Considering he is spending $100 million on this race, you would think he is running for President of North America. I could run for president with half that money. If I had that kind of money to throw away, I would not be running for Mayor, I would become a venture capitalist.
He said enough one liners today that if he were to only rehash them during his two debates, he really could shake things up. Ferrer does have it. This is a man raring for a fight. He gave me the impression he can't wait for the two debates.
And Gifford Miller spoke real good on why he supports Ferrer. Miller is doing all he can for Democratic unity. That is commendable. I actually bumped into him during the course of the evening. He gave me a pleasant smile and a greeting and moved on. I often think, it is not easy being a politician. You have to make a whole bunch of people think they are important. Not that I was trying to feel important. I mean, the guy was/is City Council Speaker. That is big. That is one of those things about moving to New York City. You suddenly get to meet all these big shots. Howard Dean is the biggest shot, and I have already met him three times now and counting.
Like this guy Bill Perkins. I saw him at the Bill Clinton event, (Bill Clinton Had Icecream For Lunch) and he looked like someone important and pleasant, but of course I had no idea who he was. First time I was seeing him. Then his name shows up as one of the guys who will show up for the DFNYC Mixer. So I google his name, and I see his face, and I am like, wait a minute, I remember this guy from the Clinton event. And so he is standing right behind me today, and Ferrer is on stage and he goes, "And I have Bill Perkins with me." It was one of those goose bump moments.
Howard Dean gave a great speech himself. Every time I have met him I have wondered, will he run in 2008? I listened to his speech and I felt he will. What Newt Gingrich was for the Repubicans in 1994, Howard Dean can become for the Democrats in 2006. He is the only Democrat with a national name recognition who could help the Dems take back the Congress. You define the office you hold, you reinvent it if you have to. He has the option to fundamentally reinvent the office of DNC Chair.
Dean put a major emphasis on the voting machines issue. That is an issue I don't know a whole lot about, but I can just feel it that it is a civil rights issue in many communities.
Here is an example. Calvin Coolidge got elected president, went to the White House, and the guy basically dozed off. That was his idea of a small government. Coolidge is Reagan's hero. And Reagan is W's hero. Now you know why W goes for long vacations. He is not going for fun. He is for small government. Bill Clinton literally refused to sleep for his final few days in office: he was at the other end. And so Dean does not have to be like any DNC Chair before him.
Needed: a 10 point program.
And there was this Congressperson lady, apparently a childhood friend of Ferrer. First time I was hearing her name and seeing her face. There are so many people in Congress from the city, you would think they are members of the City Council. But I got to shake her hand, although I did not know how to address her. What do you say? Ms. Congressperson? But then she must have forgotten my face more promptly than I forgot her name.
If America were a democracy, New York City on its own would have had three Senators. Right now it is two for the entire state.
When Howard Dean thanked people and groups before he spoke, DFNYC was the first in line.
I left a voice mail over the weekend asking Lewis, the DFNYC Finance Director a.k.a moneyman, if I had to dress up, or it was okay to dress casual. He emailed me saying it was okay to wear casual, as long as you looked clean! And so I was the only person at the event in jeans. Larry Ellison wears a suit like a uniform in the casual attire Silicon Valley, and some people think that is his idea of giving the crowd the finger. But then I might try my brown suit for the event tomorrow.
I saw Lewis Cohen and Andrew Kling have long conversations with Howard Dean. And of course Heather is from Vermont itself. I was impressed. I went to the event today hoping to strike a conversation with Dean, but it did not happen. I think I am still in the star struck phase. Where would I start? Hello, Governor, I am with DFNYC. But then so are a few hundred other people. He is from Vermont, but he probably knows more about DFNYC than I do. And today I felt like I am at a chill phase with the DFNYC movers and shakers. I lost count of which blog entry offended which member, or which part of which blog entry. If a blog entry offends you, you make use of the comments section to the entry: that is what they are there for. I know it is temporary, but this is the first time they got to meet me after some emails and phone calls. To me screen time, phone time, and face time, it is all one continuum, but for a whole lot of people, there is a dichotomy, there is face time and there is everything else. Go figure.
Could I have said my name? Governor, my name is Paramendra. Para what? That is an interesting name. I don't expect him to go, where you from? He talks casually about "white people" or "racist white people" like I talk casually about "sexist Indian men." We are both progressives deep into our bones.
But what I wanted to say to him was this. "I know you can't talk about it until at least January 2007. But if I could give you two pieces of advice, those would be, one, read as many presidential biographies as you can, birth to death, especially of presidents you admire, a half dozen of them. There is no school you go to to become president. And meeting and reading about presidents is not exactly it either." If Howard Dean were to become president, he will have to realize less than 50 individuals have gone through the experience, and most of them are dead. But reading biographies really gives you perspective. Two, make as many friends as you can inside the Democratic Party and old media. We are going to screw them both all over again, but this time we are going to do it with a smile on our face.
I know of at least one person at the DFA headquarters who reads this blog. If I end up saying something significant, she will probably pass on the message.
That second point, what do I mean? The Democratic Party before and after Howard Dean is president is going to be two different entities. The party stands to be reinvented. And 2008 will be the first new media election, like 1960 was the first TV election. 2004 was still a TV election.
We need to have Dean as a two term president so Bill Clinton has someone to hang out with. That guy has been spending too much time with Bush Sr.
On the way back, I met some mildly heavy rain. My hair got wet. I am trying to grow my hair for winter. And I also want to go back to be able to comb it.
I took a bunch of pictures. Since I had a camera dangling around my neck, I got a lot of requests from people who wanted their pictures taken with Howard Dean. I complied to each such request. I would take a picture, and either they would give me their business card, saying please email it to me, or I would give them my card. One guy earnestly offered to pay me. He thought I was a professional. In terms of photo quality that I am, but I have never made any money through photography. I should have said, today is my day off, just give the money to the Ferrer campaign. 20/20 hindsight.
And Mason treated me like I was his personal photographer for most of the evening. He is cool like that.
A DFNYC lady pointed out to me this black man who she said had run for Governor against Pataki and lost. He was supposedly the most senior black politician in the state. I had never heard of him, and I still don't know his name, but I sure got my picture taken with him. Revenge is wild justice. I did not have my camera with me when I got to meet Jesse Jackson. (Jesse Jackson On Martin Luther King Boulevard)
I even recorded two small video clips of Howard Dean speaking. My digital camera has that feature. And I am glad it does. All videos of me speaking a foreign language you will find at Google Video were taken with this camera.
And there was Jimmy. I met him for the first time at a DFNYC After MeetUp. He got my attention because he is running for the State Senate from Long Island somewhere in 2006. I like to get to know people who run for public office. I usually like to ask about the mechanics of the process. And there he was today telling Howard Dean his girlfriend has a huge crush on him. "She has a huge photo of you." He got Dean to write her a personal note. Dean looked amused. How do you know Dean got amused? He throws out a blunt smile.
It was a fundraiser. I donated $50.
"There goes my laundry budget for six months," I told Lewis.
"Now I know to stay away from you." Is that a reference to body odor?
At another point he told someone, "Watch out for this guy!"
It sounded like, watch out for this guy, he might elbow you. He also introduced me to the person behind The Daily Gotham blog. By now I have figured out Gotham is New York City's private name, like my family calls me Pappu, they don't call me Paramendra. Once a friend of mine came over to our house and asked for Paramendra, and my grandfather waved him away.
The event ended just when I was warming up. I did not get to have any real long conversation.
Somewhere along the way I approached this guy in the crowd. "I know you are not, but you look awfully like Joe Trippi. Are you?" He was not.
Trippi is a great guy, a visionary, but terribly inefficient.
I got myself a coke at the open bar.
At the end of the day I was feeling real good about Ferrer. And I was also giving some thought to as to what a 10 point program might look like.
- Balance the budget.
- Have an exit strategy for Iraq.
- Proactively spread democracy to win the War on Terror.
- Tax cuts for the middle class.
- Raise taxes on the top 1%.
- No pension for George W.
- Enhance quality of public education.
- Health care reform: introduce market forces into the sector so it gets into a position to take a lead on adopting information technology. Universal insurance coverage for all children.
- Focus on universal wireless broadband like they built the interstate highways a few decades back.
- Campaign finance reform, electoral reform.